1. The Kimchi Chronicles Begin
An introduction to the basics of Korean cooking starting with, of course, kimchi. Jean-Georges and Marja are joined in the kitchen by their real-life neighbors, actors Hugh and Deb Jackman. Together they prepare two iconic Korean dishes—bibimbap and beef bulgogi and check out barbeque that can rival Texas. The Chronicles Begin will also take a look ahead at the remaining twelve episodes of Kimchi Chronicles. Tune in to see if Wolverine can handle the heat of the Korean kitchen.
2. The Rice Chronicles
Rice, the bread and butter of the Korean table is explored from Busan, Korea’s second largest city, all the way to Seoul. Along the way, Marja and her dear friend, the actress Heather Graham, learn about instant rice, tteok (a pasta-like ingredient made of ground rice) and visit Bibigo, a new chain of contemporary restaurants serving fresh variations of bibimbap. Back in New York, Marja and Jean-Georges create their own version of bibimbap, along with sushi-like kimbap, kimchi fried rice and JG’s famous ginger fried rice. Not merely a staple, rice is the staple of Korean food.
3. The Jeju Chronicles
Jean-Georges teams of with the Julia Child of Jeju Island—the Hawaii of Korea and a veritable garden of Eden. They shop for ingredients at the sprawling 5-Day Market and bring it all back to an authentic folk village where they cook over open fires and speak through the universal language of good food. Later Jean-Georges and Marja spend an afternoon in the green rolling hills of the Amore Pacific Tea Gardens with their daughter Chloe. Back at home, the Vongerichten family whips up a spicy kimchi jjigae soup and a hearty, healthy seaweed soup topped with crisp slices of pork belly.
4. The Seafood Chronicles
Diving into one of the most amazing Korean traditions, Jean-Georges visits with the haenyos of Jeju Island, true mermaids who free-dive for seafood off the rocky coast. Jean-Georges feasts on fresher-than-fresh sea urchin, a dream breakfast for a world-renowned chef. Then he enjoys a fortifying seafood stew at Baekrok Haegwon restaurant, a veritable Korean bouillabase abundant with clams and crab. Marja explores gyejang, another famous crab preparation. Sampling a version at Gwangjang Market in Seoul, Marja gets the best version at Pro-Gan-Jang-Ge-Jang with her friend Diana. Marja takes the experience home and prepare homemade gyejang and together Marja and JG make Jeju Island-inspired dishes including steamed mussels with seaweed and sea urchin and also a Korean seafood stew. Lastly, Jean-Georges prepares his iconic crab fritters with a Korean spin.
5. The Bean Chronicles
The variety of bean-based dishes in Korean cuisine is a testament to Korea’s ingenuity and resourcefulness. On The Bean Chronicles, Marja travels to Chodang to see artisinal tofu get made the old-fashioned way with fresh soybeans and ocean water and then enjoys a four course tofu meal with fresh tofu, each preparation completely distinct and delicious enough to convince any tofu nay-sayer. Marja then learns about what goes into one of her favorite Korean foods, bindaddeok, a pancake made of freshly ground mung beans. At Yongsusan, in Seoul, the hands-down best North Korean restaurant, Jean-Georges is so inspired by the mung bean noodles in a dish called tangpyungchae that he makes a version at home in New York and also recreates a tofu-stuffed citrus dish inspired by Seoul’s phenomenal Doorei restaurant. Marja contributes her bindaddeok recipe and makes a simple, flavorful spicy tofu stew.
6. The Beef Chronicles
Tracing the history of beef, The Beef Chronicles tap into Korea’s religious, political and economic evolutions. Marja and her friends, food experts Diana and Jennifer, enjoy bulgogi in Seoul and then Marja eats it again in Andong, the spiritual capital of Korea, at a restaurant that produces thousands of ceramic jars of deonjang, a soybean paste that flavors much of Korean cooking. Marja and her dear friend, the actress Heather Graham have beef for breakfast and at home in New York Jean-Georges tops an Australian steak with kimchi butter for his neighbor Hugh Jackman and also grills galbi, sliced short ribs. The episode ends in the air as Marja and Jean-Georges eat bibimbap with bulgogi inside of a Korean Air plane.
7. The Fish Chronicles
A peninsula surrounded on three sides by water, Korea is just about heaven for fish lovers. Marja visits Sokcho, where most of her Korean family resides, to visit Dapeo port early in the morning to see the gigantic octopus come ashore and later eats a memorable meal of simply grilled shellfish in a seaside restaurant. In Busan, the world’s 5th largest port city, Marja and her dear friend, the actress Heather Graham, eat a meal in the fish market, only rivaled by Jean-Georges’s 3-course seafood breakfast inside of Noryangjin, Seoul’s bustling fish market. In their home kitchen in New York, Marja and Jean-Georges grill shellfish with chili and butter, fry crispy, beer-battered fish and onion rings and grill whole sea bass flavored with Korean soybean paste and rice ale.
8. The Seoul Food Chronicles
The best of South Korea’s capital city, The Seoul Food Chronicles cover everything from royal court cuisine to late-night drinks and snacks consumed exclusively in pop-up tents. An energetic episode chock full of exciting footage, Marja and Jean-Georges also share their finds for historic temples and palaces, striking fashion, and even take a spin in an amusement park. Seoul, located just 30 miles from the 38th Parallel that separates North and South Korea, is an innovative city that comes to life on screen. It’s also home to Doorei, the Vongerichten’s without-a-doubt vote for the best overall restaurant in Korea which inspires homemade savory pajeon pancakes and fork-tender braised short ribs.
9. The Chicken Chronicles
Beginning in Andong, the spiritual capital of Korea, Marja participates in the area’s festive masked dance ritual and learns about the local salted mackerel before getting into jjimtak, Andong’s real knockout speciality. Along Chicken Alley, Marja and her adopted cousin April sample tons of the spicy stir-fry made with chicken, noodles and vegetables. Next Marja hits up Chuncheon for dakgalbi, their famous chicken dish flavored with gochujang, the red pepper paste that informs nearly every Korean dish. Samgyetang, a fortifying broth with an entire chicken stuffed with sticky rice and lots of garlic and ginger, proves to be real chicken soup for the Seoul. Finally, Marja gets busy with fried chicken, her favorite food of all time. At home in New York, Jean-Georges woos Marja with his version of sweet and sticky fried wings and barbequed chicken and Marja shows him her roots with her version of samgyetang.
10. The Noodle and Dumpling Chronicles
Like an Italian with a bowl of spaghetti or tortellini, a Korean eating a heap of noodles or dumplings is a satisfied customer. In Korea, slurping is not only permitted, it’s considered a compliment to the cook. This episode features a restaurant in Seoul known for its nenngymyun, an unusual dish of elastic buckwheat noodles served with ice-cold beef broth. She also visits a spot known for the best kalgooksu, or hand-cut noodles, and another beloved restaurant famous for its hefty portions of mandoo (dumplings). At home in New York, Marja prepares jajangmyeon her favorite comfort food of chewy noodles with savory black bean sauce. Both Marja and Jean-Georges interpret refreshingly cold noodle soups and Jean-Georges puts his spin on chapchae, the popular Korean noodle and vegetable stir-fry. Let the slurping begin.
11. The Pork Chronicles
As opposed to the lean-is-better preference in America, Koreans love their pork full of fat and, incidentally, full of flavor. On this episode, Marja, her dear friend, the actress Heather Graham, and an expert food blogger named Daniel eat classic pork barbeque at Heukdonga restaurant in Seoul made with Jeju’s famous black pigs. They also stop by Songgane Gamjatang, where Seoul’s taxi drivers convene for pork bone soup and the grand pork dish known as bo ssam. At home in New York, Marja makes her own version of the cabbies’ favorites and Jean-Georges makes a delicious, fast stir-fry of sliced pork and colorful vegetables and improvises a simple, tasty barbeque sauce that paints ribs, chops and even pork feet. Marja and Heather conclude the episode with a visit to a Buddhist temple, the perfect balance to all that pig.
12. The Street Food Chronicles
Just like the entire continent of Asia, street food is hugely popular in Korea and many of the most beloved dishes in the country come from street carts and stands. On this episode, Marja and Jean-Georges eat street food all over the peninsula, including silkworm larvae, hoddeok, sweet pancakes filled with peanuts and sugar and Dragon’s Beard, a candy made of stretched honey and nuts. At home Marja makes her version of bindaddeok, her signature take on this simple pancake made of freshly ground mung beans shallow-fried until browned and super crisp. Jean-Georges does street food his way, incorporating Korean flavors into hot dogs with kimchi relish and lobster rolls, both of which are enjoyed by neighbor Hugh Jackman. He also prepares a knockout chicken sandwich and a few cocktails, including a Korean bloody mary made with kimchi. Covering Korean nightlife too, this episode also features Marja’s recipe for buddae jjigae, a killer soup that’s said to be the Vongerichten hangover cure.
13. The Kimchi Chronicles Conclude
The Kimchi Chronicles Conclude is all about special occasions. The episode begins in the ethereal countryside where Marja spends a day with the Alice Waters of Korea and learns the authentic way to make kimchi as well as holiday dishes to celebrate the new year. Marja and Jean-Georges also get a taste, literally, of royal court cuisine and Marja visits Sanchon Restaurant in Seoul for a transformative meal of temple cuisine. Marja joins her Korean family in Sokcho, the northern beach town, for a picnic and then brings the spirit home to New York for a roast pig celebration with the Vongerichten family. Marja also prepares easy Birthday Seaweed Soup and Jean-Georges uses Korean flavors in baeckeoffe, the classic Alsatian dish that he loved as a child.